Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below this review. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.
In Times Like These #1
Description⎮Reviewed Sep. 2016
Narrator: Neil Hellegers
Length: 13h 46m
Publisher: Skylighter Press⎮2016
4.5★ Audiobook⎮In Times Like These was such a fun listen. I’ve heard a fair amount of time travel tales and this is one of the most fun. All authors approach time travel differently and Van Coops’ take is one of the more unique that I’ve encountered. I thought he did an excellent job of spacing explanations and revelations out in this story. Some time travel stories (and stories, in general) have a tendency to unload information in concentrated “dumps”. That can put a lot of pressure on the reader to process everything at once. Considering the amount of information that needed to be delivered here, In Times Like These was pretty “dump-free”.
My primary experience with In Times Like These is, oddly enough, one of relief. A few months ago I was in a “cart before horse” situation as I listened to The Chronothon (#2 in this series). I respect that some readers don’t mind taking on a series out of order, but I’m not one of them. Because I rate titles based on my enjoyment level, the cart/horse situation greatly impacted my review of The Chronothon (which I’ll now need to amend).
When In Times Like These became available on audio, I jumped at the chance to fill the gaps in my experience with the series. In my review of The Chronothon, I predicted that at least 75% of my complaints with that particular title “could be nullified by hearing In Times Like These“. That’s why I was so relieved by my positive experience with In Times Like These. I really wanted to enjoy The Chronothon, but I didn’t have everything I needed to do so at the time. Now I do and I’ve become pretty obsessed with the series. Needless to say, I’m on pins and needles waiting for the third installment!
In Times Like These instilled in me a love of the characters and a better understanding of them on a personal level. Most importantly, I now have a vital understanding of the way time works in the series universe. It was a bit difficult to catch onto at first, mostly because it’s pretty far off from the time travel theories in other science fiction books I’ve heard, but I think I’m getting there. In Times Like These greatly amplified my understanding of all that, as well as my appreciation.
My only standing complaint echoed from my review of The Chronothon is that there is a mildly obvious lack of world-building. The writing is still very plot-centric and requires more than a good deal of suspension of disbelief. The series’ scientific background is not as firmly grounded as in some other time travel tales and it leans more heavily on the fiction part of science fiction than the science part. That didn’t bother me too much, but you may want to be aware of it going in.
Overall, this was a really fast-moving story. I’ve come to expect that from Van Coops. It was much more tolerable in In Times Like These than The Chronothon. Imagine if the movie Hot Tub Time Machine was a book and wasn’t cheesy or terrible. In Times Like These took everything I loved about that movie (time traveling back to the 80s) and made even better. The imagery Van Coops used when describing the 80s was very entertaining. There were pop culture references scattered throughout the story (plenty of Back to the Future and Doctor Who) which always put a smile on my face.
I started this audiobook in an effort to proactively quell the impending book hangover from Empire of Storms, but after the first three hours of In Times Like These, I halted listening to Empire of Storms altogether. In Times Like These consumed my attention completely. If that’s not an overwhelming endorsement, I don’t know what is. Towards the end, I tried exerting some self-restraint to ration the rest of the audiobook, but I was too weak. 14 hours of listening is nothing when you’re that wrapped up in a story.
Narration review: Neil Hellegers was a huge part of what made this audiobook so fun. His voice conveyed an urgency and vibrancy that helped give the story its tempo. I can’t tell you how far that went towards holding my attention. He is an excellent action narrator. The narration was somewhat reminiscent of an Aaron Sorkin production. Sorkin’s work in television (and movies) is famous for really fast dialogue. Hellegers’ narration held the up-tempo even when the writing pace slowed. In case I’m not being clear: That was a really great thing. It took a lot of pressure off me as a listener because he held my attention so effortlessly. Hellegers’ narration style and Van Coops’ fast-paced writing made for quite the adventure! ♣︎
➜ This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its narrator, Neil Hellegers, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Neil!
$ Available at Audible/Amazon